Claes de Vreese becomes fifth university professor of AI

Professor Claes de Vreese, Chair of the RPA Human(e) AI, has been appointed university professor of Artificial Intelligence and Society by the Executive Board of the UvA. This appointment takes the number of university professors in the field of AI at the UvA to five. The appointment will take effect on 1 June 2021.

De Vreese will focus on the ever-increasing role that automated decision-making and artificial intelligence play in our digital society, bringing together various sub-areas, including politics, media and democracy.

The need for ‘responsible AI’

Information technology, and AI in particular, is rapidly changing the world. The use of AI and automated decision-making processes is leading to all kinds of new questions and concerns. For example, what does the use of AI mean for the media and democracy? How does the personalisation of news affect citizens’ agendas and perceptions of social issues? What are the consequences of using AI for inclusion / exclusion and empowerment / disempowerment? One of the main challenges is understanding and tackling the (un)intended consequences of the use of algorithms and AI in society. The answer lies in ‘responsible AI’, technology that is verifiable and transparent. Information technology should be free from bias in decision-making and outcomes must be explainable by identifying the parameters on which the decisions are based. Responsible AI is also important for trust in AI technology in general, among citizens and in society as a whole.

As a university professor, De Vreese will work across the boundaries of disciplines and research groups, and bring together experts from across the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences (FMG). He will support and set up initiatives to strengthen research and education about AI and society. He will be the FMG’s link to his four fellow university professors of AI: Tobias Blanke (Humanities and AI), Natali Helberger (Law and Digital Technology), Ivana Išgum (AI and Medical Imaging) and Maarten de Rijke (AI and Information Retrieval). Together, they will work on an interdisciplinary and university-wide approach to AI research and education at the UvA.

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